COVID-19 Update from the President
I hope your Christmas was both memorable and meaningful and that you are making plans for a Christ-honoring 2021. As promised, here’s a quick update regarding plans for the spring semester in light of the ongoing pandemic.
I have continued to meet with members of the University Pandemic Task Force to monitor the status of the virus closely, specifically as it relates to our community. As you know, our goal has always been to create policies and procedures that allow Charleston Southern to prioritize the health and safety of our campus community while mitigating as much risk as possible. Because our policies and procedures last semester proved to be effective, we have decided to reopen our campus in the spring using the same approach. As a reminder, these policies include:
- All students, faculty, and staff are required to wear a face covering at all times while indoors, with the exception of personal offices while working alone, in dorm rooms, or in designated spaces for eating. Face coverings can be removed when you are outside as long as 6 feet of social distancing can be maintained.
- All of our classrooms will remain reconfigured for 6 feet of social distancing. Students will be allowed to complete the Student Preference Learning Form that was modified for the spring semester and submit it to their instructor and advisor prior to Drop/Add as previously outlined. For more information on this process, please refer to previous communications on our BUCSAFE webpage.
- Students should wipe down their desk area before and after use, utilizing the disinfection supplies placed at the front of the classroom. Students should wash their hands frequently throughout the day. Hand-sanitizing stations will continue to be located in prominent locations for this purpose.
- Finally, everyone must continue to use the LiveSafe Application to complete the Daily Health Check every day BEFORE coming to campus or entering any campus facility. Instructors will continue to check for the LiveSafe green check mark at the beginning of class for students.
While we have made the recommendation to reopen the campus as planned, we recognize our first few weeks on campus may be challenging. Even so, we know a lot more today than we did in August about how to thrive in the midst of a pandemic, which is why we are confident that we can resume in-person classes in the spring. As you know, there have been increases in COVID-19 numbers across the country and in our community, so it is of utmost importance that no one reports to campus if they are feeling ill or if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. With this in mind, the LiveSafe application’s Daily Health Check is a good guide. Like last semester, the pandemic task force will continually monitor COVID-19 cases in our community and will make adjustments as necessary to maintain the health and safety of our campus, which remains our highest priority.
In order to minimize risk, here are a few of the recommendations we have made for the spring:
- All residential students will be required to have a negative COVID-19 rapid test result prior to moving into their dorm room this spring. This process was outlined in the campuswide communication sent last week. Additional information about this process will be sent to residential students early next week.
- We have also made the recommendation to limit all large gatherings, temporarily reverting to the restrictions from last semester when in-person gatherings were limited to groups of less than 30 people. Student Life will be working to create opportunities for meaningful experiences for our students even with these restrictions in place. Once we get back on campus and past the post-holiday concerns, we intend to incrementally increase activities on campus as we did last semester. Again, we know a lot more about how to thrive in this environment than we did in August.
With less than 2 weeks until our return to campus, we must all stay vigilant in practicing the same health and safety measures while at home as we did on campus this fall. Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, and avoid gatherings where you may be exposed to the virus. Let’s get back into the habit of monitoring our symptoms and possible COVID-19 exposure by completing the LiveSafe application every day. Remember, there is no reason for anyone to come to campus 10 days from now if they are not feeling well or if they have been exposed to the virus; using the LiveSafe application is a great way to get our game faces on between now and our return to campus.
While we anticipate the spring semester will look very similar to the fall, we hope to reach our new, post-COVID normal in a few months. Thank you for your perseverance and resilience as we tackle the final half of this academic year together. With the Lord’s help, we did it once. With His help, we’ll do it again!
Remember, you can always reach out to the University Pandemic Task Force with questions or concerns. You can contact them directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This email address is being monitored over the break, but responses may be delayed due to the holidays.
Stay safe, stay focused, stay healthy, and stay faithful to the Lord and His provision as we work together to continue enjoying a healthy CSU! As always, let’s spread the Word, not the virus.
Happy New Year! I look forward to seeing you soon.